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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Business Times, 28 November 2015
 

We need to look deeply into why we lose able bodied youths to negativity.

There are many ways to finish a sentence that starts with “Idle hands..” and all are somewhat negative. Some years ago, a delegate from a Gulf State at one of my conferences told the gathering “... we will soon have 40,000 young people on our streets with no jobs to go to. That is worrying us”. The delegates all agreed; they too were faced with the same issues with the idle often called NEET: Not in Employment, Education or Training.

This has been a long time coming. When the Industrial Revolution accelerated in the late 1800s, most people werepoor, living on less than the UN’s modern cut-off of US$1.25/day. There were a few rich people, aristocrats, and land owners, but the masses worked for their living on farms or as craftsmen.

Then power-assisted machines took over from muscle power. There were revolts against the use of machinery, but its use continued and continues today as robots take over from people-power in industrial and commercial sectors. China is the globe’s largest purchaser of industrial robots that displace salaried workers; and India, once the home of labour-intensive back-office work, is progressing into automated processing of crime records, legal case law, weather and climate research, insurance and financial risk analysis, healthcare demographics and more.

Academic research shows that about 50 per cent of US jobs risk “robotisation,” but some jobs will not be robotised (at least not soon): jobs in the caring sector for instance. Although simple mobile robots can undertake hospital ward rounds delivering medication and eliciting some data, they cannot be deployed with scale. The human touch and judgement is needed, especially in outreach tasks when health care visitors make home visits.

Ageing population
However, most nations are not aged enough at present to demand mass employment of carers to absorb some NEETs, but that need will arrive soon as all populations age. Presently, dependency ratios are falling with too few of working age paying taxes to support the needs of the retired people and other aspects of government budgets. A slight amelioration comes from a falling birth-rate across the developed world but in the short term, that will hardly lead to a work-place solution for the idle. Presently governments are unwilling to spend much cash on their elders when they must provide social support for the NEETs and try to combat their radicalisation.

Many ask “what can be done for the youth of today?” Clearly, draconian solutions such as building a new Chinese wall, a Corinthian canal or even autostrada as in Italy in the 1920s – all by hand to ‘employ’ as many as possible – are stupid in the modern world. Yet the speed at which the NEETs issue has arisen defeats our imagination. There is the awful coincidence of massive robotisation raising unemployment (although also raising unit productivity) but which occurs at a time of reduced global trade. Rapid changes destabilise social norms.

Radicalisation
Society needs to alter its perceptions of idleness: those in work, in government, the legislature and law enforcement perhaps ought to look more kindly on the NEETS. The NEETs could help themselves by reflecting on what they could do rather than taking the role of victim and demanding state aid.

Two social change programmes come to mind – that against smoking and another against drinking alcohol and then driving. Neither achieved quick success. There was no instant ‘switch off’ to aid the recipient’s health or drinking behaviour. A similar complexity may be found in the developed world’s education systems. Part of the problem of non-participation can be traced to disengagement from schooling at an early age and to a curriculum which doesn’t offer enough options for varied courses and hands-on learning; or sufficient flexibility for those who are disengaged or undecided about their options. Opening up progression routes to make it easier to change route, reskill or pursue different qualifications is a vital mechanism to ensure young people can re-engage when their social, emotional or financial contexts permit. In poor nations the lack of good education simply exacerbates the problem.

Radicalisation is said to be a new and insidious force – yet it has been with us for millennia as religions of all inclinations (and even communism) proclaimed hope for the downtrodden. And who would like a life without hope? Once however evangelists would have to travel to their audiences risking life and limb if the authorities inclined to thwart them. Now television and the Internet provide ready access to well-produced proposals offering NEETs many hopes – as always, just rise and follow is the message! This is hard for national officials to combat – NEETS have experienced their own historic realities bringing them to their current predicament and they may not have sufficient critical judgement to see through dubious promises.

We must hope that social awareness, clear messaging and the greater development of trust in the authorities will bring about a behaviour change in the NEETS turning them to look for positive roles, supporting society rather than resorting to bombs and guns. But presently governments round the world are proposing draconian restrictions on society rather than moving towards engagement and an understanding of their disenfranchised. I am not advocating appeasement – only that we need to look deeply into why we lose able bodied youths to the deprivations they may experience as NEETs.

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.

 


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